1994-03-01

Development of the University of Alberta Entry in the 1993 HEV Challenge 940339

Because of the limitations of their storage batteries, electric cars have always suffered from short range, high weight, and high cost. New battery technologies will provide a significant improvement but all-electric vehicles will still tend to be heavy, costly, and severely limited in range compared with their combustion-engined counterparts. Despite these inherent disadvantages, there is a huge impetus for electric car development because of the pollution disadvantages of the combustion engine. Given the weight/cost/range problems of purely electric cars, it is desirable to develop hybrid cars which have the capability of operating as zero-emission electric cars in urban areas and which use a small internal combustion engine to extend the operating range. The internal combustion engine and its fuel are far lighter, cheaper, and more effective at extending range than carrying enough battery capacity to give an all-electric vehicle a suitable range.
The U.S. Department of Energy, Ford, and SAE organized a student design competition to highlight the possibilities of hybrid electric cars. The University of Alberta, along with 29 other North American university teams, spent eighteen months developing and building safe, practical, road-licensed cars with hybrid electric drive systems. The car developed by the University of Alberta team demonstrates the near-term feasibility of the hybrid electric concept and was successful in winning the 1993 HEV Challenge Competition. This paper describes the major design choices and the development process used to produce the University of Alberta vehicle.

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